• Are you having a baby? Here’s a handy, downloadable PDF with a list of 50 essential items you’ll need for your new baby. Whether you’re sorting through your baby shower gifts or drafting your shopping list, these tips may help you figure out what you need most.

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  • Although vacationing during the cold winter months is exciting, it’s important to take care of all the mundane details before leaving your home for a significant amount of time. Nobody wants to worry about the safety of their home while vacationing, and you won’t have to if you take these steps.

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  • Characterized by bright colors, woven fabrics and handcrafted pieces, southwestern-style decorating takes influences from Native American, Spanish and Mexican art. Whether you live out west and want your home to reflect your surroundings, or you simply want to incorporate colorful or handmade items into your existing decor, here are some tips to help you...

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Markets Sensitive to Survey Released Today – Market Update

Markets Sensitive to Survey Released Today – Market Update

Bernanke’s comments that monetary stimulus is still needed to support economic recovery lead to treasuries and mortgage gains yesterday.  So far the market has managed to hold on to those gains.  Today the Fed’s Beige Book survey will be released indicating economic conditions across the country.  The markets will be particularly sensitive to any information that indicates weakening consumer spending or a lapse in hiring activity.

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Light Week Ahead for Economic Data – Market Update

Light Week Ahead for Economic Data – Market Update

Last week was filled with poor economic data.  The unemployment rate came in with 9.1 percent vs an expected 8.9 percent. Friday’s May employment report disappointed with a 54,000 gain vs an expected 165,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls. This hurt equities as stocks finished the week down more than 2.0 percent.  However, Treasuries and mortgages rallied on the data. Today, mortgage bonds have opened lower.  There are no scheduled economic releases today, and the economic news for this week is on the light side.

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Housing Industry Sees Lowest Home Prices in Nine Years

Housing Industry Sees Lowest Home Prices in Nine Years

Recent data suggests that prices for homes in metropolitan areas have dropped to the lowest rates since 2002.  Tons of unsold homes, numerous foreclosures, and the financial inability of prospective buyers are three of the main contributing factors driving prices down Since the housing bubble burst in 2006, home prices have fallen further than they did during The Great Depression.  The housing market did not regain its losses until nearly 20 years post The Great Depression’s end. Momentarily, home prices rose in the summer of 2010 due to the temporary federal home-buying tax credit.  Prices have plummeted ever since.  According to David Blitzer, chairman of the index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, the month of May saw a “double dip in home prices across much of the nation.” Economists predict an extra five percent drop in prices nationally by the end of 2011.  Factoring in inflation adjustments, the current home-price index has not been this low in 12 years. Home prices may continue to fall unless a combination of the following four occur: Banks ease lending rules Employers begin to hire in greater force Potential home buyers gain confidence that a home purchase is a beneficial investment The abundant number of foreclosures for sale are reduced Foreclosures usually sell for at least a 20 percent discount.  These low prices consequently pull the price of surrounding homes down as well.  This process delays the overall rebound of home prices.  Due to the low cost, foreclosures are very popular in the current…

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Four DIY Home Improvement Projects to Boost your Home’s Value Without Breaking Your Pockets

Four DIY Home Improvement Projects to Boost your Home’s Value Without Breaking Your Pockets

Making upgrades to your home can add value and worth.  Most home improvement projects are simple, affordable, and can be done yourself.  Here are four suggestions to improve your home without breaking your budget. Spring clean with four home improvement projects under $300: Paint Your House Painting is a home improvement project that can pay big dividends using inexpensive and easy supplies.  The living room, kitchen, and master bathroom are the most important rooms in a house.  A new coat of paint can freshen up your home and add zip to it.  The most appealing colors universally are neutrals (off white, and other shades of yellow- based tones). Indoor Light Fixtures When renewing lighting, remember to replace the three Ds: Damaged, Dated, and Distracting lighting. -       First replace all damaged lights in your home. -       Renew dated, low-hanging chandeliers with a basic pendant lamp placed higher for less distraction. -       Replace lighting in dark rooms with higher-wattage light bulbs. Landscaping Before you begin, survey the area and make a plan.  Landscaping home improvement projects can range from relaxing Zen themes to traditional yard designs. Aside from lawn upkeep, landscaping consists of floral arrangements, shrubbery grooming, and even the addition of a garden.  Proper watering and careful lawn mowing will keep your landscape looking its best for years to come. Curb Appeal Add curb appeal to your home with easy DIY home improvement projects by: -       Replacing your dated mailbox -       Cleaning your storm door and windows -       Add a fresh…

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